It was the “political punt” heard around the energy world. Rather than making a final determination regarding the fate of the Keystone XL Pipeline project, President Obama effectively sidestepped making a decision. Instead, he opted for an unprecedented fourth environmental impact study that would explore alternate routes to avoid the environmentally sensitive Sandhills region and Ogallala aquifer in Nebraska.
The oil industry is a market full of intangibles, plenty of knee-jerk reactions from investors and a dynamic that often defies logic and clear-cut forecasts. For the U.S., there are several constants that continue to influence the industry. Perhaps the most notable is that the majority of our oil continues to be imported.
There are many types of awards or special recognition bestowed annually in our industry -- the underground infrastructure construction and rehabilitation market. Most are well-deserved and for the right reasons (though there does seem to be a lot of “political” thinking involved in some of that recognition – but that’s a conversation for another day).
On Tuesday, Aug. 30, the National Transportation Safety Board issued their final report on the pipeline explosion in San Bruno, CA, that occurred on Sept. 9, 2010. A 30-inch diameter natural gas transmission pipeline owned and operated by Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) ruptured in this residential area, killing eight people.
Extreme economic hardships for many municipalities are pushing some cities to consider extreme actions – such as the rarely occurring municipal bankruptcy. Consider the case of Birmingham/Jefferson County, AL.
The search for the cause of the San Bruno gas pipeline explosion in 2009 that killed eight people has taken a new twist. On June 9, the California Public Utilities Commission issued a report from their hand-picked Independent Review Panel. This was a group the CPUC assembled ostensibly to get to the bottom of the San Bruno explosion.
Increasingly, horizontal directional drilling contractors come from every walk of underground construction life. Gas and oil pipelines, telecom, electric and gas distribution were the early adopters of the technology. But as the rigs and affiliated add-ons/complimentary equipment evolved, other underground niches have steadily became believers in the technology.
When considering the condition of America’s underground sewer and water infrastructure, there are several constants. For those in the know, the word ‘failing’ tops the list, closely followed by a perpetual dearth of funding.
At the 2011 edition of the annual Underground Construction Technology International Conference & Exhibition (UCT) held in January, a different mentality and perspective was apparent among both the attendees and many of the exhibitors.
Underground Construction’s 14th Annual Municipal Sewer and Water Infrastructure Survey appears this month. While compiling and writing the report each year is always extremely interesting and revealing, I found this year’s survey to provide a particularly telling insight into the municipal market.